Sunday July 13 2014

More to soccer than the goals

By Dennis D. Muhumuza

Tonight, the 2014 Fifa World Cup champions will be pronounced after a scintillating final. What goal galore; what masterstrokes; servings of geniuses; what crackles of wit have defined this tournament! Sad though that it has ended too soon, I cannot forget what it has taught me about life.

Because the golden trophy goes to one nation, it is easy to assume many players went home empty-handed. Yet there are players who before the competition were little unknowns but after some sparkling moves on the pitch they will now be snatched by mega clubs in Europe that pay big money. Thus there’s more to gain in utilising the chances life hurls at us than merely focusing on silverware.

I also learned that sheer talent is not enough. Ivory Coast had arguably the most talented team at the World Cup but they were prouder than the peacocks. Then they lacked team spirit as each player sought personal glory. This individualism cost the team dearly, and in the end it is the united, hard-working Desert Foxes of Algeria and the high-spirited Costa Ricans that impressed the world with their synergy and hunger for success.

There was something to pick about the importance of self-belief and good psychology that motivates players to perform way better than they are capable of. Putting in 100 per cent in soccer as is in our daily pursuits pays off with amazing results.

Why do you think defending champions Spain and three-time world champions Italy suffered the embarrassment of getting knocked out in the first round? Because the ‘small boys’ like Costa Rica and Switzerland refused to be intimidated by the ‘big boys’ and played their hearts out with solidity and purpose that once again corroborated the saying that the race is not necessarily to the swift nor the battle to the strong. Just give your very best and see how far you will go.